A Story of Vegan Friendship, Gratitude, and one beautiful Quilt

Yesterday I was plucking away at my keyboard when the doorbell rang.  I thought “ugh, another door solicitation”, because we’ve had a lot of that lately.  I make my way to the door to find a box.  Thought it might be a gift for our daughter, as it was her birthday last week – but no – it was for ME!  Don’t you love that?  How exciting to have a letter or box addressed to just us, unexpectedly!

The box was from a vegan mama and friend, Michelle Bishop.  Now, I have come to now Michelle from the early days of blogging.  Back in the “good ol’ days”, of ’05, when cooking blogs were just emerging.  Some came and went, but other blogs stuck around for a while.  Michelle and I came to know each other through our blogs, and she regularly posted recipes from my first two cookbooks at the time.  We both had two children, and were both vegan moms.  Over the years, we stayed connected, and celebrated each other’s growing families as we welcomed our third babes.

Michelle is an especially remarkable vegan mom, because not only does she cook vegan for her children, her eldest is type 1 diabetic and celiac.  So, this lady works extraordinarily hard to plan and prepare meals that are not only wholesome, but suitable for her boy.  I have always thought that “if this mom can manage all that she does to cook for her children, everyone should be able to cook vegan”!

And, Michelle was also one of my fabulous testers for Let Them Eat Vegan.  She likes to think that I have taught her a lot about cooking, but truth is she has shared a great deal with me about gluten-free baking.  And, I greatly trusted and valued her opinions on my gluten-free recipes in LTEV, because, well, she knows the score!

So, I open this box from Michelle and find this beautiful handmade quilt!  I was floored, and thought I was in some kind of dream, because – who does this for someone else??  Apparently Michelle does!

I started to cry.  Look at this beautiful creation.  The colors, the patterns, look at these artichokes, carrots, peas, and more!…

And, she enclosed a note, which made me cry more.  In addition to a note just for me, she wrote this to our girls:

“I’ve hidden some words in this quilt – they are tricky to see – can you find them all?  It’s like a quilty word search!”

She sewed these words into my quiltHummus, TEV, Vive, ED&BV, LTEV, Tea & Cookies, Ratatouille, Plant Powered, Wholesome, PB Ice Cream, Tofu, Kale

Again – ???!!!  I had Rudolph nose most of the day looking at this quilt and thinking of all the thought and effort she poured into this project.

If you look close, you can see the outline to some words here….  on top here you can see the beginnings of “Plant Powered”, and right underneath is “Hummus”:

did you see it?  And, here’s “ED&BV”:

Here is “Vive”:

Here are some busy feet while I try to snap photos:

& the “PB” in ice cream is here, just above some little fingers:

 

I e-mailed Michelle straight away – well, as soon as I cleared away some tears!  I thanked her so sincerely for this heartfelt gift, to which she replied:

“I am so glad you like it.. i’ve been so nervous, i have no idea what colours you like, but when i saw this fabric, it just screamed “Dreena!” and all sorts of veggie goodness.  The kids helped me come up with the words.  I have so much to thank you for!!  My parents taught me… let’s see here, very little about cooking, and absolutely nothing about *healthy* cooking.  I feel like i’ve learned the majority of what i know from you, your cookbooks, your blog, etc!  You’ve been so patient, answering my questions over the years, and chatting about ingredients.  Because of all your work, I can now teach *my* kids about healthy cooking!   And while I truly hope they stay vegan forever, even if they don’t, I know that they will have a solid foundation, and lots of great recipes to see them through the years.  I don’t think you really understand that what you do … well it’s more than writing recipes!  You help feed families and teach us all.”
More waterworks!  And, I have pasted this for you to read, not just for her kind words about my work.  But because with all the nonsense about vegan parenting in the press recently, Michelle echoes my own feelings as a mom.  Michelle, you have touched my heart with this gift, and with your words.  Truly, I will cherish this gift for the rest of my life, and will always feel gratitude, friendship, and love when I snuggle up with it.
Soon after, Michelle posted this photo to her facebook page:

Michelle's cutie pie plant-powered kids!

As I said to Michelle, her children embody everything that is good, and healthy, and life-giving about being vegan. And Michelle – you embody all that is compassionate.  And, as I write this post, I have your quilt on my lap keeping me cozy…

36 Responses to A Story of Vegan Friendship, Gratitude, and one beautiful Quilt

  1. Wendy Sailor says:

    I’m so grateful I found this site. I can’t take credit for being a good sleuth, lol. I found it via a pin on pinterest for cheese dip! The internet can be used for some terrible things but I think they are outweighed by the wonderful people and connections that are possible with it. I can hardly wait to try the recipe and I am (ashamed to say) envious of that beautiful quilt. I love the colors and the veggies and it reminds me of our p-patch plot. That is one of the fantastic things about the internet that we can find each other and bond so strongly that we set on fire someone else’s creativity with our willingness to share. The synergy is incredible. Beautiful post.

    • Dreena says:

      Hey Wendy, however you got here – all that matters is you’re here! Vegveeta has that effect. ;) Thank you for this lovely note, I will always be in awe of my quilt myself. Hope you enjoy poking around my blog!

  2. The beauty and love in this story are perfectly exhibited in every stitch of your GORGEOUS new quilt. I am duly impressed by its size and the care within. I think Michelle may have the secret Time Generating Device I’ve been searching for! ;-) What a generous gift for such honorable recipients! Thank you for sharing with us, Dreena. <3

    • Dreena says:

      Allison, it’s a pleasure to hear from you! And, yes, haha, Michelle seems to have figured out how to balance a whole lot of things all at once. She needs to give us some tips! Thank you for commenting Allison.

  3. Gena says:

    I’m practically in tears over this! What an exquisite story of friendship. I think often about the deep relationships I’ve forged through blogging and this community. They’re priceless.

    • Dreena says:

      Gena, it really is amazing how we can become very connected with some beautiful people – hopefully we will meet many of them one day. And, hopefully I’ll meet you soon too! Thanks for the note.

  4. Vegyogini says:

    WOW…sweet, thoughtful, creative, generous…what an incredible gift in addition to the true gift of friendship!

  5. Liz says:

    Wow.

    The two of you sound like SUCH amazing women who absolutely deserve the love and friendship you both give and cherish. I have to say, though, I understand where Michelle is coming from. I’ve been cooking healthy vegan meals (little to no processed, store bought, factory made foods), for quite some time now, yet, you still manage to amaze and astound me, Dreena. With your creativity, simple yet UNBELIEVABLY tasty, wholesome dishes, you’re a vegan alchemist — turning the ordinary into extraordinary things. I truly don’t know how you do it; a “little of this” and a “little of that” turns into a whole lot of flavor and something out of this world. You’re nothing short of a wonder. If I could sew, I’d make you a quilt, too! :)

    • Dreena says:

      That is so touching Liz. You’re going to have me crying again – and Michelle too. :)

      Thank you. And, I deeply appreciate your feelings about my recipes. Truly, thank you.

  6. Lorraine Crespo says:

    I just found your site through Oh She Glows also. I am excited to read past blogs and get insight from you as a mother making healthy choices for you and your kids. I am a mother of 4 (all under 9) and made the change in April 2011 and it has been a journey. Most difficult has been socially with family and friends. Thanks for taking the time to blog and share with others.

    • Dreena says:

      Welcome Lorraine! I hope to be able to share some of my experiences and insights with you as a vegan mom. We have three girls, under 11, and they have been eating vegan from the get-go! Things get easier socially, and also with increased awareness of, and support for, the vegan diet, you may find people start to become more curious than questioning. Hopefully so! Anyhow, please poke around and maybe find some recipes and other info helpful to you as a mom. :)

  7. Willow says:

    What a wonderful friend to have! A beautiful quilt, as well.

    Speaking of friends, I just discovered your blog via Angela at Oh She Glows – and I’m so glad I did! I will definitely be stopping by to keep up with your entries. :)

    All the best,

    -Willow

  8. Tracy says:

    Dreena- I just found your site today through Angela at Oh She Glows. I have to say that you had me crying reading this post! What a beautiful quilt and story, how evident it was that you touched Michelle’s life. I have added you to my daily list of favorite blogs and can’t wait to start exploring the pages of your blog. :)

    • Dreena says:

      Hi Tracy, welcome to my ‘kitchen’! :) Very cool that you linked in via Angela, her work is just dynamite! Thank you for taking the time to comment, and hey, sometimes a good cry is in order, right? Thanks, and hope you enjoy poking around my site!

  9. What a touching story! However, I’m not surprised. The way you interact with your blog/cookbook readers is unlike any other that I’ve experienced. You are a true diamond in the rough and I’m so thankful to have “found” you by browsing and google-ing vegan recipes. And just as Michelle said in her emailed reply to you, I feel so thankful as well to have learned so much about healthful vegan cooking and am so happy I can pass on that knowledge to my boys. Thank you for everything you do!!

    • Dreena says:

      Awww, Christine. I am thankful to get to interact with people like you as well. It’s quite the ‘perk’ to this part-time/full-time gig (hard to determine these days if it’s pt or ft, all so intertwined with mothering! I enjoy offering help and being able to communicate with people, and just hope to be able to continue to do so with things getting busier. I will certainly try my best!

      You have such a good heart, and what you’ve said is very meaningful. Thank you.

  10. WOW. That is absolutely beautiful. How very kind, though I am sure you are so deserving. That actually brought tears to my eyes… ugh I am such a sap. Oh and PS I absolutely love your website and blog, you are such an inspiration. xo Tara

  11. Noel says:

    What a beautiful quilt! What an amazing story of friendship! I remember Michele’s blog from what seems like a long time ago. Both of your blogs were so inspirational to me back then when I was so new at all this. Thanks for sharing!

    • Dreena says:

      Ah, nice that you remember those blogging days too! Thank you for saying that Noel, hope to keep bringing vegan goodness… :)

  12. Michelle Bishop says:

    thanks for the blog post, Dreena! i’m glad you guys like the quilt and found all the hidden words! it gives it some “text-ure” lol!

  13. Tina says:

    That is the nicest thing ever! It made me misty!

  14. sara says:

    So wonderful to be on the receiving end of such generosity and love and kindness!! I bet that you have changed A LOT of lives for the better through your work and also through you simply “being” such a great person… It is beautiful that you have received some gratitute via this amazing quilt. Thanks for sharing this moving story :)

  15. Janae Wise says:

    There’s no price that you could put on that sort of thing. I know how time consuming quilts are–what an honor & treat for you. And I love the “secret” words in the quilts. So cool. Definitely a pay day for you, you deserve it Dreena!

    • Dreena says:

      Janae, is that ever true. No, it is priceless, and will be with me forever, until (as my girls like to say with a squeaky voice): “I’m a little old grandma”. Oh dear!! Fun times as a mother, huh? Thanks for that Janae, xo.

  16. marsha says:

    Dreena, this is beautiful! Michelle nailed it, you ARE an inspiration for so many! Please share Michelle’s blog if she’s still writing which I hope she is. She sounds like a true inspiration herself! Thank you for sharing. The caring, the love that comes from the vegan moms I’ve many is just amazing! I must send a <3 to you both! Thank you!

    • Michelle Bishop says:

      Marsha, i’m no longer blogging at the place Dreena was referring to. thanks for the nice comments though… i don’t really feel like an “inspiration”.. just a mom, trying to keep her kids healthy!

  17. Eve says:

    That is so moving and kind. It’s wonderful when people are this caring and generous with themselves — which I guess was Michelle’s message to you as well! Thanks for sharing this moment.

  18. Megan says:

    That is incredibly sweet!! Now I’M crying!

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